– company assures of no cyanide spill
Canadian-owned, Guyana Goldfields Inc., which is being described as the biggest investment in the local gold mining
industry, says it is spending up to US$20M monthly to ready the facilities for full commercial operations in the latter half of next year.
Currently, around 500 persons are employed by the company at the Aurora site, Region Seven, where the massive foundation for the mill is being poured and other construction works are taking place.
The US$250M investment, according to President and Chief Executive Officer, Scott Caldwell, will see the mine producing gold at a healthy US$800 per ounce, one of the lowest costs of production in the world for the shiny metal.
The project has been given the thumbs up from the Government of Guyana with over 900 persons to be employed at the height of the construction phase this year. Full production next year will see around 400-500 persons on the payroll of the mining outfit.
Caldwell made the disclosures yesterday at the Guyana International Convention Centre, Liliendaal, during the launch of an updated handbook on mining, “A Mining Information Toolkit For Guyana”.
The project has been one endorsed by the Canadian Government with High Commissioner, Dr. Nicole Giles, also present yesterday. Also there was Minister of Natural Resources and the Environment, Robert Persaud, mining officials, and several stakeholders.
Since the closure of Omai Gold Mines a few years ago, Guyana has been without a large scale producer. There are several exploratory operations that have signaled strong interest into moving into full operations. However, Guyana Goldfields has remained at the forefront of the lot.
According to the CEO, while the open pit project is looking at a 17-year life-span, indications are that this could double as explorations have found heartening results. The company says that it is expecting to mine over three million ounces but this is conservative with the estimates expected to rise.
While the company says it will be injecting US$249M to move the Aurora project into production, it plans to plug another US$153M between 2015-2017 and spend up to US$3M annually to continue explorations.
In total, Guyana is expected to collect up to US$1B in royalties-taxes from fuel and payroll- during the 17-year mine life. This includes 30 percent Corporate Income Tax of US$509M, Payroll Taxes of US$67M and Excise Tax on petroleum to the tune of US$43M.
The executive made it clear that the company is also looking to have the mine operated by more than 90 percent of Guyanese, with continuous training and community partnerships to play key roles in the operations.
While Guyana Goldfields has plans to move into underground mining, something unheard of in Guyana, the company admitted that it will be conducting intense staff training before venturing into that phase.
He also assured that there should be no fears of a spill, as safety systems are in place to ensure that any cyanide will long be destroyed before being discharged into the waterways.
The assurance would be relevant as the last large scale miner, Omai Gold, came under scrutiny after a reported 3.4 million cubic meters, or 900 million gallons, of cyanide-laced water was released into the Essequibo waterways after a dam failure.
The mill is expected here this month and to take it up to the mine site, the company says it will have to barge it up the Essequibo River to Buck Hall, then take it along the 175 kilometers of road.
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